From the Press box

Nicole Carroll: A one woman mission to make a name in football

And Blues goalkeeper next season will be…

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The news of Shay Given’s injury has left some Blues fans scratching their heads about who is going to be featuring between the sticks next season. Joe Harts fantastic form at Birmingham has earned him plaudits from the media all season, and has left him with a shout for a role with England in South Africa.

All the fans were hoping we would be able to secure him for another seasons loan at St. Andrews, especially if Manchester City were looking at flashing the chequebook towards a big name goalkeeper for next season. With Givens injury, and Manchester City’s attempts to recall Joe Hart, it seems that the player is definitely in their plans, and that we’d have very little hope of seeing him in our goal again.

The defence have had a big part in our success this season, and we need someone who is going to command the area and develop a relationship with our back two pairing in Johnson and Dann (providing we don’t replace one of these in the back two at the start of next season).

Media speculation points towards the following names for next season.

David James

Unfortunately nicknamed “Calamity”, the Portsmouth player will definitely be leaving Fratton Park this season, with Portsmouth in massive financial difficulties, and James keen to keep playing for as long as possible. At 39, it would be hard to argue that James has years left in him, and would potentially fancy another Premier League club for what could potentially be his swansong season.

The player almost left Portsmouth in January to go to Stoke, and therefore the signs are good for him to move into the Midlands area. The stalling point for Blues would be the players wages, who would be significantly higher than any other player at the club. McLeish turned down deals for big name players in January because he didn’t want to rock the boat by breaking the wages structure, and this is something he could shy away from again.

Ben Foster

Manchester United’s Ben Foster should be chomping at the bit for regular Premier League football, something which he hasn’t tasted since his two loan spells at Watford. Joining the club in 2005, Foster was a key part of the squad which led Watford to a Championship playoff which they went on to win. Signing on for a second season on loan, Foster picked up the clubs player of the season award at Watford during there Premier League inaugural season. However, despite the club wanting to keep Foster on a further loan, Ferguson kept him at United from 2007 onwards.
His United career since 2007 has been blighted by injury, and although he has impressed on occasions, such as the league cup final against Tottenham where he saved during the penalty shoot out, he has also received criticism for mistakes made in the wins over Arsenal and Manchester City at the start of the 2009 Premier League campaign.

Foster has struggled to cement his place as number 2 keeper at United, and has sometimes been displaced by Kuszczak on the bench. Despite Alex Ferguson claiming that Foster is in his plans as a replacement for Van Der Sar, Foster seems to fall in and out of favour with the United elite, and definitely needs regular Premier League football to prove his worth again. After Joe Hart’s fantastic progression this season, a move to Blues would appear to be attractive to a player trying to prove his worth.

Kasper Schmeichel

An ex-Manchester City player, and quite obvious family goalkeeping connections, Kasper Schmeichel was hailed as a future star when he broke onto the footballing stage. Despite showing promise at Manchester City, Schmeichel was loaned out to various clubs, and signed for Notts County after media speculation that he was unhappy about falling down the pecking order at Manchester City, after the signing of Shay Given, and the emergence of Joe Hart.

His move to Notts County saw the player being the highest paid at the club, on around £1 million per year. His statistics are impressive however, with a 0.7 goals conceded rate, and 52% of his appearances ending in a clean sheet. Schmeichel has left Notts County, and is now available as a free agent.

With having such a famous father, and quite obvious potential, Schmeichel will be looking for a fresh start in a higher league to prove his worth. Perhaps more of a gamble than James or Foster, but a potentially cheaper long term option who can be nurtured by our goal keeping staff in the same vein as Joe Hart this season. Top Premier league sides have settled keepers who they can base their defence around, signing someone like Schmeichel on a permanent deal would allow for growth in the future, rather than having to re-plan every summer when the loan deal falls through.

Joe Hart?

The only way this could possibly happen is if Manchester City sign a world class keeper in the Summer and allow us to take the player on loan again, or whether Joe Hart hands in a transfer request that City accepts. The chances seem slim, but the player seems happy with the club and the manager, and one can only hope and dream that he’d want to stay with us. England’s number one? I think he will be. If we got the chance, we’d need to sign him, no questions asked. The fee would be paid back tenfold if he continued the form he has shown this season.

Original article posted at Joys and Sorrows


Written by Nicole Carroll

April 29, 2010 at 2:52 pm

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